On Friday, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory sent out this tweet:
— David Gregory (@davidgregory) February 14, 2014
This, to put it mildly, is not the way to do things.
First, some context: TV news shows almost never cover climate change, which ought to be one of the most aggressively-reported issues around, given that, y'know, it's a dire threat to the planet and everyone on it. A recent study from Media Matters found that the Sunday shows on NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox spent a combined 27 minutes on the topic in the whole of 2013. Meet the Press was singled out as "failing to offer a single substantial mention of climate change" for the entire year.
So, when "MTP" does finally decide that the issue merits its consideration, what does it do? It sets up a "debate" about the issue between Bill Nye—who, despite the great things he has done to popularize science, is not a climate scientist—and Blackburn, who has previously tweeted about how proud she is to deny that global warming exists.
The existence of climate change is no longer an issue up for discussion, and hasn't been for decades. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said there was a 95 percent chance that humans are responsible for global warming.
The only debate left is what to do about climate change, not whether it exists. And, if the Sunday shows do insist on carrying out that tired conflict, they should at least put the debate in the hands of climate scientists, rather than media figures or politicians. "Meet the Press" is providing a perfect example of what not to do.
The Sunday shows on ABC and CBS are doing marginally better this weekend. Both are covering "extreme weather," which naturally involves a conversation about climate change, and, regrettably, both are seemingly keen on maintaining the idea that there is still a "debate" about the topic afoot. Consequently, both shows are featuring Republican governor Pat McCrory, who has previously said that global warming is "in God's hands."
But they're also turning to actual climate scientists. "This Week" is speaking to Climate Central's chief climatologist Dr. Heidi Cullen, and "Face the Nation" is turning to Dr. Marshall Shepherd, the former head of the American Meteorological Society. That's a small step, but it is something.